*Starred Review* Two sisters awaken in a forest cottage to find their parents gone, the secret inside their closet breached, and nothing but a mysterious pictograph to point them forward. Summer and Bird set out into the woods to reunite their family but soon become separated. Alone, each must brave the forest’s hard beauty, exploring its mysterious corners to search for each other, and for themselves. Catmull’s stunning debut unleashes a fierce imagination to build a wholly original world, rich with the familiar shimmer of folklore and drawn with the elegance of a Russian ballet. There are rhymes and bird songs; ravens and snakes; a spirit guide with a vexing smile, born of a burning tree; and an evil, bird-eating puppeteer. And what of the avian-selkie Swan Queen, with her stolen cloak of feathers and feet of clay? As a piece of fantasy, this atmospheric adventure thrills with complex storytelling, carefully threaded with bits of foreshadowing and overflowing with poignant imagery. But lurking beneath the girls’ parallel journeys and heartbreaking reconciliation is an allegorical exploration of family, where the obscure difficulties and rewards of sibling loyalty and parental devotion become painfully, startlingly clear. Grades 5-8. --Thom Barthelmess
BOOKLIST (starred review): "Catmull's stunning debut unleashes a fierce imagination to build a wholly original world, rich with the familiar shimmer of folklore . . . This atmospheric adventure thrills with complex storytelling, carefully threaded with bits of foreshadowing and overflowing with poignant imagery."
KIRKUS (starred review): "A haunting fable inflected with mythological and fairy-tale motifs . . . meticulous, symbol-rich narrative with a light, storyteller's voice . . languorously beautiful."
INDIEBOUND Fall 2012 New Voices Pick: "Lyric in its language and layered in its complexity, this is a book like no other. . . . as much about the complexities of family relationships as it is about quests, magic, growing up, and the worlds that exist just beyond our own."Amazon Editors' Picks
in Fall 2012 Reading for Kids & TeensAmazon Best Books of the Month
for Kids & Teens: October 2012